Why become a member of the Association of International Churches in Europe and the Middle East? Read the four reasons your church should join the Association.
1. We provide fellowship and support between member churches and their pastors. An annual pastors and spouses conference is held to help each member church provide an enriching and helpful point of contact for their pastor(s) and spouse(s). International church ministry, while wonderful, also carries with it some unique challenges. Bringing together people from a variety of cultures and church backgrounds, membership that changes on an annual basis due to people moving in and out, and the experience of living as a foreigner while seeking to minister to the needs of a foreigner can often create challenging and taxing demands on the pastor. The ability to relate to a group of pastors and spouses who experience many of the same realities has become an invaluable resource for the pastors and spouses who have chosen to attend the conference each year. An added bonus is experiencing the culture of the country where the conference is held, often being exposed to the challenges and joys of ministry in that context. Because portions of the conference are often held in the local church, the pastors and spouses are also given a broad exposure to the various types of churches and worship styles that are present throughout the AICEME.
2. We support youth ministry. Another great event that has been made possible through the member churches of the AICEME is the annual Youth Conference. As students from across Europe and the Middle East join together for a long weekend of worship, learning, serving and playing, these young lives are deeply encouraged in their own walk with Christ. Often the only Christian in their schools, many young people have commented on what an encouragement it is to come together with so many other students of faith who are in much the same situation. The youth conference is often a highlight of the year in many of our member churches and we could not provide such a great weekend retreat for our young people without the funding, unity and networking that the AICEME provides for us.
3. We help resource your church. Resourcing international congregations with pulpit supply, retreat speakers or expertise in a certain area of need can be challenging given the lack of skilled English speakers available in certain contexts. The AICEME opens up a world of contacts who are connected with international churches throughout Europe and the Middle East. Pastors have often been invited to one another's churches to preach, teach or help a congregation walk through a challenging issue or take part in a visioning weekend. Additionally, pastors have access to the gifts of their congregation and can make recommendations of skilled people if a specific need should arise. There's nothing better than a personal recommendation and the AICEME provides a great opportunity for networking and the sharing of resources.
4. We create a network of recommended churches for traveling or departing members. A final advantage of being part of the AICEME is that your church gets lifted up when people are visiting your country. Every international church has people who travel and when most pastors hear that someone from their church is visiting a city where a member church is located, the recommendation to visit that church and greet the staff is often made. It's a joy to be able to direct others to visit a church when one pastor knows the other pastor personally.
It may not be immediately obvious why being a member in the AICEME is necessary or advantageous but all who are current members could give a meaningful testimonial as to why it's been an important part of their ministry. The support provided to our pastors, spouses, youth and congregations cannot be fully expressed. Please join today if you can or at the very least contact someone from the Executive Committee to speak further about the benefits of membership in the AICEME.